Starcraft 2 Viper Info, Abilities & Gameplay

Starcraft 2 Strategy Guide --> Heart of the Swarm Guide --> New HotS Units --> Viper (you are here)

Viper Sc2The Viper is a Starcraft 2 Zerg unit introduced by the Heart of the Swarm expansion pack. This flying caster has no native attacks of its own but its abilities make it one of the most powerful units in the game.

The ability list of the Viper make it virtually a must-have unit in any late-game Zerg composition. However, despite its strength, it is very difficult to use properly.

I have seen many players (including professionals) shoot themselves in the foot with this unit, as some of its abilities can actually hurt the Zerg player if used improperly.

This strategy guide will not only go over all the basic information on the Viper and its abilities, but go on to reveal what these common pitfalls are and how you can avoid them.

Viper Production

Cost: 100 minerals, 200 vespene gas, 3 supplies

Production Time: 40 seconds

Produced at: Larva

Requirements: Hive (no other building requirement)

Class: Armored - Biological - Psionic

viper stats

Viper Stats & Info

Health: 150 health, 200 max energy.

Movement Speed: 2.95

Armor: 1

The Viper has no native attacks. Its effectiveness entirely stems from its abilities.

Viper Abilities

The Viper has 3 abilities available to it that make it useful.

Consume - No energy cost, no cooldown.

Consume is an ability that Viper can use to convert the health of your buildings into energy. Consume deals 200 damage to the target building over 20 seconds and restores 50 energy to the Viper in the process.

Abduct - 75 energy cost, no cooldown.

Abduct is an ability that pulls the target unit to the Viper. This ability has a range of 9 and can even be used to grab massive units like the Colossus. You can use abduct on the most dangerous ranged units to pull them within the range of your short-range ground units.

Blinding Cloud - 100 energy cost, no cooldown.

Creates a cloud for 14 seconds that reduces the attack range of ground units and structures underneath the cloud to melee range. This affects both enemy and friendly units.

Viper Gameplay Video

The Viper's abilities are pretty easy to understand once you see them in action in the video below. However, despite their simplicity, many players struggle to use these abilities effectively.

Starcraft 2 Viper Strategies

The Viper is definitely a finesse unit, but when mastered, provides an incredible boost to the Zerg arsenal. In this section, we will discuss the common strategies for using the Viper's abilities and

Avoid Overproducing the Viper via Consume

For a pure caster unit with no offensive abilities, the Viper costs a lot of supplies (3 per Viper). One big mistake players make is adding 6+ Vipers to their late-game arsenal. If you are maxed out at 200/200 with 70 workers, you have 130 supplies left over for units.

If you build 6+ Vipers, we are talking about 18+ supplies invested in Vipers - that is 12%+ of your army size in a unit that can barely take any damage and has no directly offensive abilities. This is especially pronounced when the player is using 6+ Infestors as well - with this many supplies tied up in casters, there is not enough meaty Zerg units to tank the enemy forces.

This is where the Consume ability comes in handy. By making sure your Vipers always have max energy, you will need less of them. 2-4 Vipers is plenty for practically any Zerg combination. If you are just using Abduct on big units like Colossi, you can get by with 2 Vipers, if you are using Blinding Cloud as well, you will want an upwards of 4 Vipers.

If your creep spread is good, you should build Evolution Chambers all over the map. These buildings serve as targets for Consume so you can not only refill your energy between battles, but also so you can refill your energy without having to run your Vipers back far from the front lines.

Use Abduct on Valuable Units

The primary function of Abduct is to pull in long-range enemy units that are high-threat but may otherwise be too far in the back of your opponent's army for you to reach. With a range of 9 on Abduct, there are not many units which can hide from this ability.

Abduct essentially allows Zerg to skip air technology should they so desire. Before abduct, in Zerg versus Protoss, Zerg players always had to have a back-up Spire to get out Corrupters if the Protoss got Colossi. Now, you can use Roaches, Hydras, and Vipers, and just use Abduct to pull Colossi into the middle of your Roach/Hydra ball.

Abduct also works good on caster units. I have found that Abduct works great on Medivacs when combined with Fungal Growth. If you can land a few good Fungal Growths on a Marine and Marauder ball, the amount of damage inflicted is devastating. However, often times, the Terran is able to sneak away and heal up with their Medivacs. By using Abduct and grabbing all the Medivacs at the start of the fight, Terran players will struggle to recover from a well-placed Fungal Growth.

Abduct and Automated Defense

One way top-level players are overcoming high powered Protoss deathballs and powerful Terran units like Battlecruisers in the late game is using Abduct in conjunction with static defense.

If you build a bunch of Spore and Spine crawlers in the middle of the map and park a Hydralisk ball amongst these units, you can use a few Vipers with Abduct to snag Battlecruisers, Carriers, Colossi, Void Rays, and Archons, pulling them into your static defense. With the back up of Spore and Spine Crawlers, the Zerg is at a big advantage. Once you kill off 20-30 supplies of units in this manner, you have inflicted a devasting and expensive blow to your opponent's army.

Blinding Cloud - How to Use It

Blinding Cloud is perhaps the most powerful Viper ability but without a doubt the most difficult to use. Unlike many casted abilities in Starcraft 2, Blinding Cloud affects both enemy units and friendly units.

The common mistake players make is that they use Blinding Cloud on mobile enemy ground units like Marines and Marauders, thinking that these units will then be unable to attack. However, this mobile army can then just back out of the Blinding Cloud in a very short period of time.

Once out of the Blinding Cloud, the common Zerg response is to give chase. The Terran player can then stop running, turn around, and fire at your units, which are then unable to attack because they are being hindered by the Blinding Cloud you just moved into. To clarify, if the Terran player moves away from your army, out of Blinding Cloud's area of effect, if you follow the Terran's army with Roaches or Hydralisks, these units will be moving into the Blinding Cloud and thus unable to attack.

The alternative scenario here would be to not give chase if the Terran player ran from your Blinding Cloud in order to "wait it out" so you do not get negatively affected by the cloud. This however is equally disastrous as while you are sitting there waiting for the Blinding Clouds to disappate, the Terran is healing his units to full with Medivacs and moving Siege Tanks into optimal positions.

In order to get the most out of Blinding Cloud, you should be using it in the following situations:

  • When using Zerglings and Ultralisks, as these melee units are not affected by the debuff;
  • By using it on stationary units, in particular Siege Tanks in Siege Mode;
  • In conjunction with Fungal Growth, as rooted units cannot run out of the Blinding Cloud.

Remember, each time you use Blinding Cloud is a time you cannot use Abduct. It is a far better use of Viper energy when fighting against the common Terran bio-mech build to just use Blinding Cloud on the Siege Tanks or Marines and Marauders which have already been rooted by Fungal Growth and then using the rest of your energy energy on Abduct on valuable units like Medivacs or Siege Tanks.

Starcraft 2 Viper Conclusion

The Viper is a great unit, but many players do not use it to its full potential. The key to this unit is not building too many of them and instead keeping their energy full with Consume. Use Abduct to take out high value targets and only use Blinding Cloud when appropriate. Once you drop Blinding Cloud, do not give chase to a fleeing enemy army through these clouds, as the army can then turn on you while your units are helpless in the Blinding Cloud.

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